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Past Imperative (The Great Game, #1)
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Past Imperative (The Great Game #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  619 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
In a world on the brink of madness...In the summer of 1914, a young man beyond reproach awakens under police guard grievously injured and accused of heinous, impossible murder. And in a strange, distant place...The youngest member of a penniless acting troupe has been taken prisoner by the loyal minions of a corrupt, vengeful goddess. For an ancient prophecy has divided th ...more
Paperback, 456 pages
Published November 1st 1996 by Eos (first published October 1995)
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Community Reviews

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Ron
“What happens after depends on what happens during.”

What if there is a form of magic in our mundane world? Right before our eyes, but unrecognized. What if, under certain conditions and in certain places, that magic swells into something truly supernatural? What if … but that would be telling.

“Everything has a purpose.”

Good opening to an extended series: the Great Game. Good world(s) and character building. The protagonists are identifiable, but neither stereotypes nor perfect. Their foibles mak
...more
Pipsqueaks
Sep 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Man, you guys, why is no one reading Dave Duncan? I've only ever met one guy who knew who he was, and he was a used bookstore clerk in Edmonton.
Sean Randall
Mar 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"This is August Bank Holiday weekend, Inspector! England is closed."

what an absolutely delightful blend! A superb mix of the English crust with a world of Gods and miracles. The weaving back and forth between worlds zooms up the tension admirably, leaving one in turns desperately frustrated yet so eager to carry on.

"The universe ought to be more logical, and an armed geriatric nun was carrying things altogether too far."

There are echoes of the Seventh Sword series here, particularly in the ways
...more
Jeremy
Sep 07, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: could-not-finish
This books starts out very promising, and then goes absolutely nowhere for at least the first fifth of the book, which is where I gave up. It's one of those annoying books that skips between two completely unrelated plot-lines. I'm assuming the two main characters will come together at some point. Unfortunately I have very little emotional investment in either one of them.

What really kills me is that other than the slow pace, it's a very well written book. The dialogue is snappy, the secondary c
...more
Peter Tillman
Jul 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
B+, parallel world of magic and “gods”, well-written but... I like his SF better.
Simon Mcleish
May 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in October 1999.

Duncan's novel, first of a trilogy, impressed me deeply despite its rather shaky beginning. He uses two ideas which are rather unusual in the fantasy genre. The first of these is to vary the standard plot in which a normal Earth person is catapulted into a magical world of which he understands nothing by making the events in the two worlds closely connected - the First World War (the Great War) and a contest between the gods of Nextdoor (the G
...more
Shane
I've had this book for at least 10 years. It looked like fantasy but not the standard elves and dwarves Tolkien ripoff and that intrigued me. Obviously it didn't intrigue me enough because I never got around to it until I found it on Amazon in audio as part of the all-u-can-read buffet program (can't remember what it's called). I didn't know ANYTHING about the book when I started (because I usually like to be surprised). It was decent but not great for me. It definitely was NOT a Tolkien ripoff ...more
Angela
Feb 26, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Angela by: Peggy
I would have given up a third of the way through this book if it hadn't have been for the fact that it was recommended by a friend. It was improving slightly by the last quarter of the book, but it's still not one I will ever read again or really recommend.

The two main characters are in entirely different worlds, seemingly totally and pointlessly unrelated to each other. I guess that is part of the intrigue... but there is very little character development that actually encouraged me to like eit
...more
Ubalstecha
Edward is a typical young British man in Edwardian England. The child of British colonial workers who were murdered in Africa, he has gone to a private (called public) school to be trained to be the next generation to run the empire. So when the drums of war start to pound, Edward feels compelled to sign up to fight for king and country.

The problem is that in another place and another time, Edward is the proficized Liberator. His destiny in the other world is to kill death. And the Gods from tha
...more
emily
Really interesting concept. I enjoyed this first book of the series but disliked the second one so much I didn't finish it, so that tarnishes this one a bit as it doesn't really stand on its own. Maybe I'll power through the second one at some point and see if the 3rd of the trilogy redeems it.
Steve Markham
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good start to what I am hoping is a good series. I enjoyed this book but be warned it is a bit of a slow starter. Set in two worlds during the first world war, that was enough to get me to read it and it is worth it. Have a pen and paper to hand for all the gods.
Jim Callahan
Sep 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
one f the better books I've read this year. the characters are decently done and don't always follow the traditional role of Kid, hottie, and tough guy. I'm enjoying these books quite a bit, and the author is doing a great job of hiding the ending.

Deena
May 11, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Definitely not my favorite Duncan book. Nothing really happens for the first three quarters of the book, and I got so fed up with waiting for some action that I just skipped ahead to the end. The characters are kind of meh, and it felt like I was reading two different books for most of the time.
Katherine
Nov 06, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Fantasy/historical, a young Englishman spoiling to fight in World War I instead finds himself the subject of a strange prophecy in another world. Smooth reading but very slow to get started; the book didn't grab me until it was almost over.
Ron Judenberg
Mar 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
read
Kim
Aug 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paranormal
I've always enjoyed stories where a normal person gets dragged into a magical alternate world. This has been a very enjoyable read. Reminded me a little of Thomas Covenant.
Adrem Kay
Apr 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Science fiction/fantasy readers
Shelves: fantasy
Please see my review for the third book, Future Indefinite, where I review all three books.
David Korinetz
This is book I of a three part series about how people from our reality can pass through into another where they become gods. This was not the author's best work but I did enjoy the story.
Steve
The Great Game
Aditya /
Apr 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
excellent plot, excellent characters. keep going past the beginning. One of the protagonist reminds me of the one in To Kill a Mockingbird
Aimalyn
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May 22, 2011
Brian Kindregan
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Sean Dustman
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Spencer
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Jonas Eckerman
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Apr 07, 2014
Morgan
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Derek
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Ryan Goldsmith
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“Now he seemed to be stranded for the rest of his life on a world unknown, more exotic than anywhere Haggard ever Rode or Rudyard ever Kipled.” 0 likes
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